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Utilities & Transportation Division

Division Description

Overview
Legal Services Provided
Numbers/Trends

Contact:
PO Box 40128
Olympia, WA 98504-0128
E-mail


Overview

The Utilities and Transportation Division is one of the smaller divisions in the AGO.  One division chief, six Assistant Attorneys General, one Legal Secretary 3, and one Legal Secretary 2/25% Paralegal, provide legal services to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC or Commission).

The Utilities and Transportation Division provides legal services to the UTC.  The UTC regulates the rates and practices of a wide range of services, including:  telecommunications (but not wireless, Internet or cable companies), electricity and natural gas, solid waste collection, water, pipelines, railroad carriers and facilities, in-state household movers, private ferries, and bus companies.  New market conditions, technology, federal and state laws, and consumer expectations make for an ever-changing policy and legal landscape.

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Legal Services Provided

The division principally handles regulatory litigation.  The division represents the commission in court, both in appeals from its decisions and in original actions, as well as in proceedings before various federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and administrative entities, such as the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  The division represents commission staff in rate proceedings and other regulatory actions before the commission.  In addition, the division assists in the disposition of more than 2,000 formal filings considered annually by the commission.

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Numbers/Trends

Currently, the division is handling nine cases in state and federal courts and five formal federal administrative agency cases (not including participation in rulemaking proceedings before the FCC and FERC). In addition, the division is handling a large number of administrative cases before the UTC, ranging from complex rate and pricing proceedings to smaller cases impacting only a few consumers. The vast majority of matters before the commission are resolved without formal adjudication. These are either non-controversial or resolved through negotiation or other alternative dispute resolution processes. Many matters are resolved at the commission's regularly scheduled open public meetings.

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